September 22, 2011 Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring" To Be Featured in Program for Young People

Public Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217 | Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

The ballet classic “Appalachian Spring,” created by Martha Graham with music by Aaron Copland, is the subject of a new book for young people, called “Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring” (Roaring Brook Press: 2010). The Coolidge Foundation of the Library of Congress commissioned the work, which premiered in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium on Oct. 30, 1944.

A program featuring the creators of “Ballet for Martha,” as well as a performance by members of the Martha Graham Dance Company of excerpts of “Appalachian Spring,” will be part of an event on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at 11 a.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. A small display of important items from the Library’s Martha Graham Collection will also be on view. Students from local schools will attend this event but all are welcome.

The “Ballet for Martha” program is sponsored by the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book and Music Division, which is the repository of the Graham Collection. The event is supported by the Jonah S. Eskin Memorial Fund.

The book “Ballet for Martha” was written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, with illustrations by Brian Floca. These three will present an illustrated discussion of their book, which will be available for sale and signing. The dancers from the Graham Company are Miki Orihara and Tadej Brdnik. Speaking on behalf of the Library are John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, which oversees the Library’s Young Readers Center, and Susan Vita, chief of the Music Division.

In their book, Greenberg and Jordan tell young readers the behind-the-scenes story of this classic work – from Graham’s first inspiration, to the intense rehearsals, to its first performance, and Floca’s vivid watercolors bring the process and performance to life.

“Ballet for Martha” is also the subject of a discussion on Facebook. The Books & Beyond Book Club is available at Here readers can discuss books, the authors of which have appeared or will appear in this series. The site also offers links to webcasts of these events and asks readers to talk about what they have seen and heard.

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to "stimulate public interest in books and reading," the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress ( has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the Library’s website and administers the Library’s Young Readers Center.

Among the Library of Congress Music Division’s vast holdings are more than 40 special collections in dance, comprising over 750,000 items. Particular areas of strength include American modern dance, represented by the Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham and Martha Graham collections; and the Ballets Russes de Serge Diaghilev, represented by the Alexandra Danilova, Bronislava Nijinska and Ida Rubinstein collections.

The Martha Graham Dance Company has been a leader in the development of contemporary dance since its founding in 1926. Informed by the expansive vision of pioneering choreographer Martha Graham, the Company brings to life a timeless and uniquely American style of dance that has influenced generations of artists and continues to captivate audiences. Graham and her Company have expanded contemporary dance’s vocabulary of movement and forever altered the scope of the art form by rooting works in contemporary social, political, psychological and sexual contexts, deepening their impact and resonance.


PR 11-175
ISSN 0731-3527